Kawhi Leonard out for Raptors vs. Pacers on Sunday
The Raptors decided not to play Kawhi Leonard as part of their sustained workload management for the 27-year-old forward. Leonard is yet to play in both ends of a back-to-back game this season.
So no Kawhi Leonard tonight vs Pacers. Raptors have ruled him out. Lowry listed as questionable but still believe it’s a good bet he plays.
— Mike Ganter (@Mike_Ganter) January 6, 2019
Leonard played for 38 minutes in Saturday’s 123-116 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. The two-time All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year paced Toronto to victory, bagging 30 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse initially told reporters after their victory over the Bucks that he expects Leonard to play against the Pacers. However, it seems the team is still cautious about the condition of their superstar.
Leonard has already recovered from a quad injury that saw him feature in just nine games for the San Antonio Spurs last season. Nonetheless, his injury management with the Spurs caused a rift between him and the organization that eventually led to his trade to Toronto.
Sure enough, the Raptors might just be playing it safe, ensuring that Leonard is well cared of during each step of his return to full strength.
Leonard’s absence will be a massive blow to the Raptors, especially with Kyle Lowry questionable due to his lingering back issue. Leonard is averaging 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game this campaign.